Kansas City, Missouri, Woman Sentenced to Prison for Wire Fraud and Using Stolen Identities to File False Tax Returns
A Kansas City, Missouri, woman was sentenced to prison today for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft related to the filing of false tax returns announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Stephen R. McAllister for the District of Kansas.
U.S. District Court Judge Carlos Murguia of the District of Kansas sentenced Antoinette Winston, also known as Tweety, to 34 months in prison and ordered her to pay $165,392.48 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). On Aug. 21, 2018, Winston pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to documents filed with the court, from 2012 to May 2015, Winston stole and used personal identifying information, including names and social security numbers of other individuals in order to file fraudulent income tax returns requesting refunds from the IRS. Winston also used this information to obtain pre-paid debit cards in the names of these individuals, and directed the IRS to pay the fraudulent refunds to these pre-paid debit cards. After the IRS deposited the refunds on the pre-paid debit cards, Winston used the cards to withdraw cash at banks and retail stores. The intended tax loss to the IRS from Winston’s scheme was more than $250,000.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney McAllister commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Rask and Assistant Chief Matthew J. Kluge of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.